There are plenty of health issues associated with excessive alcohol consumption, and while halitosis is not the worst of them, it can signal the presence of major dental problems. So say Japanese researchers from the Fukuoka Dental College's Department of General Dentistry.
In a study published in the International Dental Journal, the team associated heavy daily drinking with powerful bad breath and an increased risk of periodontal disease.
The group began by recruiting 235 adults, all of whom complained of chronic oral odor. Scientists then used a halimeter to measure each volunteer's level of halitosis, confirming the presence of an odor by using an organoleptic (or nose-based) test.
Researchers then interviewed participants to determine how often they consumed alcohol.
Among those who drank daily, many were found to have severe halitosis. These subjects also tended to have deep pockets of infection under their gumlines, indicating the presence of periodontitis, a serious infection of the gums and dental roots that can lead to tooth loss.
Specialty breath fresheners can reduce the smell of bad breath caused by alcohol-related tooth decay. Incidentally, such products are often alcohol-free, which may be a boon for individuals who are seeking treatment for chronic drinking.